California considers a new tax for sending text messages

From Fox News: California state regulators have been working on a plan to charge mobile phone users a text messaging fee intended to fund programs that make phone service accessible to the low-income residents, reports said Tuesday.

The California Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposal next month, but critics have already come out against the scheme, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

“It’s a dumb idea,” Jim Wunderman, president of the Bay Area Council business group, told the paper. “This is how conversations take place in this day and age, and it’s almost like saying there should be a tax on the conversations we have.”

While the amount consumers would be expected to pay remained unclear, some business groups are saying the new charges could cost wireless users more than $44 million a year, FOX11 Los Angeles reported.

Charges may also be applied retroactively to messages sent in the past five years, which has raised questions concerning the proposal’s legality, Rufus Jeffress, vice president of the Bay Area Council, told the San Francisco Bay Area’s KNTV-TV. The “alarming precedent” could chalk up to a bill of more than $220 million for consumers, the Mercury News reported.

The wireless industry argues that the fees would put carriers at a disadvantage since competing messaging services like Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp would not be charged the new fees, FOX11 reported.

Those against the proposal said that wireless customers already pay into the state’s Public Purpose Programs, which they call “healthy and well-funded” with nearly $1 billion in its budget, the Mercury News reported. But state regulators disagree, saying the budget has increased more than $300 million over six years, KNTV reported.

Residents lamented the potential tax, calling it “dumb” and “unfair.”

“To have them charge us something else is just dumb,” a Bay Area resident told KNTV. “I think it’s very unfair, especially for the people that can barely pay for their cell phone plan already.”

DCG

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Jim Campbell
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This would clearly be against the Tenth Amendment and will struck down as it should be in a higher distric Court

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Steven Broiles
Member

Wunderman is right: This tax is unfair. Jim Campbell above is also right in that it would violate the 10th Amendment. It would also violate the 4th Amendment: After all, if one’s text messages are sent or received, they could also be read. This proposed tax is also regressive, just as a sales tax is regressive: Poor people spend more of a percentage of their disposable income to survive, and a sales or text message tax would also take more of a percentage of that disposable income—something rich people don’t have to worry about (at least as much). There is… Read more »

pigpen51
Guest
pigpen51

The state of California seems to be just like my local newspaper in that they remind me of Will Rogers.
They never met a tax increase they didn’t like.
Here is a meme to brighten your day.
http://theferalirishman.blogspot.com/2018/12/write-punchline.html#comment-form

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Why not just tax citizens to pay for everyone who isn’t? That’s what California’s actually doing.

Jackie Puppet
Member
Jackie Puppet

“To have them charge us something else is just dumb,” a Bay Area resident told KNTV. “I think it’s very unfair, especially for the people that can barely pay for their cell phone plan already.”

I really hope they didn’t vote Democrat in the last election, if they did, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Dave
Editor

Kalifornia would tax people by the turd if they thought they could get away with it.

Lophatt
Member
Lophatt

“OK you cows! Get back in the herd and bellow for Jerry. Hail Jerry”. “We need more Messican voters and you’re gonna pay for it!”